Coeliac problems in Brighton

SPOILER: This post contains more moans and groans than travel advice but I promise this will improve as my health does.

Saturday 8/4/2017 – I woke up feeling great, well, great for me…

The other half was running the Brighton Marathon on Sunday but we had to go up on the Saturday to pick up her marathon pack. Our first stop on our journey was London Victoria.

“Daisy why is the bloody train not on the board? We have ten minutes to get on the train and you haven’t even got the reference number for the tickets. We are gonna be late.”

Even after just a few words, you can probably tell that my mood was quickly deteriorating. My stomach was cramping again and I knew that my high spirits wouldn’t last long.

After a few strops and several toilet breaks, we were in Brighton. The weather was warm and bright but I was wearing a bloody jacket and we still had a mile walk to the marathon pick-up point…Yay for me.

At the Marathon Village, deck chairs were laid across the beach in front of a big screen showing the Mini Marathon.

“Daisy you collect your pack, I’m just gonna chill here.”

After a few minutes I found myself nodding off and before I knew it Daisy had returned.

On our way back to the train station, we explored The Lanes and also come across Trafalgar Street. Trafalgar Street is directly beneath the train station and is a hip area brimming with quirky vintage shops and cool little restaurants. We were looking for somewhere gluten free and there were plenty of options. I spotted Breeze Brasserie, a chilled out restaurant with some good gluten free meals. “Fancy eating here for lunch, Daisy?” Of course she don’t, unless it says VEGAN, HEALTHY, AVACADO. Oh wait, Daisy spots a sign that says “proudly independent” and what’s that? She wants to eat there now? Alright then.

trafalgur street

Breeze Brasserie has an easy to read menu for allergens and after a quick word with the waitress to say that I am coeliac, I was ready to order.

breeze dinner

I went for the pan roasted chicken breast with rosemary infused roasted sweet potatoes, a chorizo and lentil dressing with a side of crispy kale for £11.95. The dish was completely gluten free and I also had a Crabbies ginger beer to wash it down with. The chicken was moist and the flavours complimented it very well.

After lunch we jumped on the train to Gatwick. It’s got to be said that it feels so weird entering an airport and not getting on a plane but the airport’s Premier Inn was the closest place that was left that didn’t cost a fortune. So, anyway, we checked in, booked a table and then had a little nap before our meal. I really wanted to continue napping but we had to get Daisy some food, otherwise there was no way she was running that marathon.

For those who don’t know, Premier Inn offers a two course dinner, drink and breakfast for £24.99. If you’re a pig like me then you can pay a £2 supplement for the rib-eye steak, which is exactly what I did. Prawn cocktail for starter with gluten free bread and the rib- eye for main. I was told that everything was gluten-free and that the fryer is only used for chips.

Sunday morning, the alarm goes off nice and early. Before the alarm I was already out of bed on the bog. Hmm, that so called gluten-free meal at Premier Inn might not be as honest as I thought. Obviously I have now emailed the hotel but still haven’t had a reply.

Sorry, back to the story – feeling absolute scrap.

All that’s going through my head is that I’m going to be stuck on this train to Brighton with hundreds and hundreds of marathon spectators crammed together like sardines.

At Gatwick train station.

What’s this? The train is cancelled.

“If the next train is rammed and I can’t get on, you jump on Daz, and I’ll get the later train.”

I said this over and over again, reassuring myself. Luckily enough not only was there a toilet on the train but it was also surprisingly empty. I reckon that the man above saw me stressing and gave me some pity. That, or the people jumped on the train before when they saw that the other was cancelled. I ran straight to the toilet, my stomach was burning, I felt sick and had a huge headache.

I’m pretty used to all the above on a daily basis but normally I’m resting at home feeling sorry for myself rather than struggling in public.I try and feed my mind with positive thoughts but it always comes back to the negative thoughts eventually, just frankly I’ve had enough of feeling this way.

Sorry let’s get back to the marathon.

Brighton was buzzing.

Daisy runs by, smiles and off she goes. Google maps at the ready and off I go to Hotel Pelirocco to check in.

After seeing Daisy again at mile 12 and chatting to some very friendly spectators along the route, my plan now was to sit by the beach right by the TOILETS (yup it always goes back to where those toilets are). I mean there was always the sea in case of an emergency… I’m just kidding…or am I?

On the beach I fell asleep, dehydrated and burning. Eventually I woke up to the voice of a runner who completed the race in an incredible two hours forty.

By the time I got Daisy some food and some juice, pop to the toilet, it was time to see her pass the 25th mile. Our friends Ashley and Emma with the kids and dog in tow also arrived to see Daisy cross the finish line but I had no phone signal to contact anyone.

Mile 25…Daisy ran by… What a relief that I didn’t miss her.

I then planned to meet her at the Marathon Village at letter D. Luckily I bumped into Ashley and Emma on the way. It was a huge relief to actually see them, Emma understands what I’m going through so it’s nice to have sometime to chill with like that. By this point I was a little more at ease and Ash was being my mum asking me if I had eaten and drank etc.


: 1 bottle of water

: zero food

: sun burn

: stomach cramp

: headache

: dizziness

: and frankly pissed off

Of course Ashley, I’ve had a little something to eat and drink (hmm right). Even though he bought me a gluten-free paella and water, I couldn’t really eat much.

A few hours of beach bathing with the gang and it was time to head along the seafront for our second hotel of the weekend.

star wars room

Hotel Pelirocco is a themed hotel and our room was Star Wars themed. I can’t say that I’m the biggest fan of Star Wars but it was affordable and very different. The rooms were kitted out with a bunk bed, small double on the bottom and a single on top. Star Wars props were scattered around the room and there was an entire collection of Star Wars DVDs. But the thing that really made this room super cool was the Darth Vader outfit.

star wars room 2

4am wake-up call needing the toilet. I won’t go into details (no one wants to hear it, trust me) but if you have had food poisoning you will understand. Train is at 3pm and I’m now panicking that I’ll be stuck on the toilet all day, majorly panicking.

: 6 imodium later

: a delayed train

: a very helpful and reassuring Daisy

: o and a sanitary towel… (don’t ask, just don’t)

We arrived home. Phew!

As I write this I can’t help but think that Daisy deserved two medals this weekend, one for running the marathon and the other for dealing with a 29 year old verging on 59.

Moral of the story, do your research, tweet some fellow travellers, find a good gluten free restaurant, try to live in the moment and don’t worry about things that may or may not happen.

If you don’t feel great, try to eat and if you can’t eat then make sure you at least keep hydrated, unlike me.

If you’ve managed to get to the end of my grumpy post, then you deserve a medal too!



The Best Gluten Free Fast Food Restaurants

Finding a gluten friendly restaurant can be hard sometimes, actually it can be hard full stop. Although I love going to independent eateries, when we go out to the cinema or for a casual catch up with mates, it’s easier and often cheaper to go to a fast-food restaurant. For those of us with ceoliac disease, it can be a nightmare scanning the menu to find just one or two gluten free options not to mention the constant fear of cross contamination running through our heads. So in order to make eating out as fun as it should be, I have done some research of my own to see which restaurants offer gluten free, coeliac friendly food.

Honest Burger

The Honest Burger with a gluten free bun and an extra burger because I was real hungry 😉

Honest burger has to be one of my favourite burger places in the UK for gluten free goodness. This burger joint does not cheap but you do get a damn good burger (cooked medium unless specified ) and a portion of delicious rosemary salted chips. I usually opt for The Honest Burger which consists of beef ,red onion, relish, smoked bacon, mature chedder, pickled cucumber and lettuce, all tucked between a gluten free bun. Top this off with a Daura Damm gluten free beer and you are in for a treat. The total cost for this is between £15-£16 and a gluten free bun is £1 extra. If you happen to visit Honest Burger in Camden, located directly opposite is a vegan and gluten free cookie and cake shop called Cookies and Scream –   definitely worth a try.


Gluten free lemon cake…yum

If you’re on a diet, health kick or just prefer good clean food then this is a great place.


Leon is a healthy fast food eatery that offers a range of gluten free, veggie and vegan food to eat-in and takeaway. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served along with tasty cakes and coffee.

The menu varies from each restaurant but they all tend to have a pretty good range of gluten free options.

It is reasonably priced at ranges from a few £s to £10 for a meal and a drink.

So, what are you waiting for? A guilt free, gluten free fast food meal is waiting.

Ed’s Easy Diner

Of the Ed’s Easy Diner menu, 70% of the dishes can be made gluten free; just be sure to let them know if you are ceoliac. From gluten free burgers to hot dogs, this fun filled American style diner even has a separate frying area for gluten free chips, so there’s no need to worry about cross contamination. Ed’s is a great place for all the family with 1950s jukeboxes and a tantalising menu of shakes and fizzy floats.

Prices vary around £6-£12 depending on just how hungry you are. Ed’s Diner has received accreditation from CoeliacUK for their amazing commitment – Can it get any better ? Well it sure does with a warm gluten free chocolate brownie or a blueberry cheesecake, or, maybe even both. Enjoy.


I think it is safe to say that everyone enjoys a trip to Nandos, and guess what? You can too. I recently contacted this favourite food chain for an insight into their gluten free procedures to prevent cross contamination. I received a very helpful email from Nandos allergy department. As a coeliac herself, the staff member was super helpful and had a lot of knowledge about the disease. The most important information they could provide was that even though a huge section of the menu is gluten free, customers MUST make staff aware if they have coeliac disease so that they take the appropriate measures to make sure that nothing becomes contaminated with gluten. From cleaning down the grill to wiping chopping boards, staff at Nandos take Ceoliac disease very seriously  which really does make the experience much more enjoyable. I normally get half a chicken and two sides which costs £10.35, which aint bad if you ask me.

Wherever you choose to eat, the important thing to remember is to make a member of staff aware that you are coeliac.

Hope this helps!

What is Coeliac disease?

Now before I get started on my gluten free adventures, I wanted to provide some facts about Coeliac disease. If you do not have this disease or do not know what it is, I feel that raising awareness is definitely the way forward. So here are some facts about Coeliac disease:

Coeliac is a lifelong autoimmune disease caused by a reaction to gluten that affects 1 in 100 people.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. When people with Coeliac disease consume foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by attacking these substances. As a result of this, the small intestine becomes inflamed and the body is unable to absorb nutrients which can lead to vitamin deficiencies. 

Once diagnosed, a gluten free diet is the only treatment and that’s for life. Even a single bread crumb (gluten) can be damaging to people with Coeliac disease.

Coeliac or know someone with Coeliac disease?

Cross contamination is a big deal.

Here are some tips to help:

Look out for this gluten free sign on packaging,
Look out for this gluten free sign on packaging,
  • Avoid using the same utensils
  • Avoid frying food in the same oil as foods containing gluten
  • Use a clean grill pan or get your own toaster – let’s be honest, getting your own toaster is not the easiest or cheapest option so some toaster bags will do the trick.
  • Get your own condiments i.e. Jam, mayo, butter etc. and label them to avoid a breaded knife being dipped in
  • Get your partner to go gluten free 😉

Also, if a close family member (parent or sibling) has the condition, then the chances of having it increases to 1 in 10.

Symptoms can include:

  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Indigestion
  • Hair loss and anaemia
  • Constipation
  • Tiredness
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Tingling and numbness in hands and feet
  • Difficulties getting pregnant
  • Abdominal pain


So, be on the safe side and GET YOURSELF CHECKED.


Now let the travel fun commence.


P.S. If you have any other tips you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them!